Friday, December 18, 2009

Fever Dreams

Interesting night last night. Plunging sense of well-being resulting from the onslaught of a head cold and a query rejection (la, inevitable but still stings) sent me early to bed ... to lie awake feeling a vise squeezing my sinuses.

At 2 I gave up and took a decongestant. Knowing this would keep me awake, I also "took" some Glenlivet (la, it is medicinal). Tossed and turned until the Glenlivet wore off and then lay, wide awake, heart pounding (I blame the decongestant) until 4:00, when I gave up and arose to read. Got bored, came back to bed, and started mulling over, in a haze of forehead-crushing sinus pain and a dry mouth, the following problem:

It's winter. Too cold for epoxy to cure. Yet I need to install the chine "logs" on the boat. These are actually three pieces of long wood, each about one inch square by sixteen feet. I need to warm them and the spot where they attach to at least 70 degrees, otherwise the epoxy won't work.

Now, working through winter before, I've heated small areas with a tenting of plastic, lights, and a digital thermometer. But I'm beginning to think I may have to tent the entire boat, frames and all, bow to stern, like the house in E.T.

Or so it seemed to my humming mind in the wee hours of the morning. Thus, today: a doctor visit and more cogitation. How do you warm a sixteen-foot-long area when the ambient temperature is in the low thirties?


Peter S said...

How about setting up a small incandescent bulb and wrapping the epoxy joint and light in tin foil. The reflective surface will keep that heat in there like a space blanket, and you won't need as strong of a heat source. Plastic sheeting will leak out most of the heat. And there's the possibility it will catch fire and melt. Onto your boat.

Barry Long said...

I had a similar problem, though on a much smaller scale: my basement not as cold as your garage (low 50's), and my pieces smaller; but I have all slow cure epoxy. I used an oil filled radiator type space heater in a tent of old blankets (tent is exaggerating, I just draped them over top) That got the temps into the mid 90's.

Those heaters are cheap, safe and pretty efficient, but you might need two to handle a space that large evenly. If you can just get the temp into the mid 60's it will cure in a couple of days.

You probably know the type of heater I'm talking about. I don't think I can post a photo here, but here's a link:

Me, I'll be sitting by the woodstove all weekend.

S R Wood said...

I think the key is to break the problem into two components: heat source, and insulation. A light UNDER plastic sheeting does surprisingly well -- the light warms the air, the plastic holds the warm air in. The downside of foil (or the space-blanket approach) is that I wouldn't be able to see the curing joint, and I am incurably curious.

Still, reflecting heat off foil might work ... though I still think plastic will hold the warm air in more efficiently than foil. And wouldn't foil just radiate heat right through to the other (cold) side?

An oil-filled heater might be just the thing for a large area like this.

In any case, I think I'm going to have to do several dry runs, seeing how warm I can get things. 'Cause once you start with the epoxy, there's no turning back!

Barry, stay warm this weekend. We have 19" and going strong still.

Barry.Long said...

You too. We ended up with about two feet, give or take. It was . . . fun, shoveling out the driveway. I had forgotten how much fun.

Jim Pankey said...

Wow, it must be a tough job building a boat outside in winter...Good luck!!